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Where will Normandie go next?


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Just thought I’d open a new thread with something new and a discussion on MV Normandie. She has been an ever-reliable amazing servant to BF over the years, loyal to her specific route from Portsmouth to Caen with barely a hint if controversy. Her only dice with danger was her 30 degree accidental listing, which was probably the closest any BF Vessel had come to a genuine disaster. Such a degree of listing is quite significant on a vessel, and eye-witness reports of it seemed quite terrifying.

 

Anyway, out here any nuggets of unknown knowledge you have, rate photos (such as in construction) or memories. In addition to that where do you see her future? I personally could see her on a short to mid length passenger/freight route across the Irish Sea or even in Viking colours on Talkin - Helsinki. What are your thought?

 

L’Q.

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All trace of this story appears to have been erased from the record books but it's true. When leaving Ouistreham one day automatic pilot decided to throw a wobbly and put her into a hard turn to port at speed, must have been a very frightening experience at the time because 30 degrees is quite a list. Not as bad as Epsilon though during storm Imogen when various reports mention she got to nearer 40 degrees - just a few more and she wouldn't have made it back up again.....

Chris 

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18 minutes ago, lg12 said:

Didn't PA have a serious incident some years ago?

If it’s the same one I’m aware of then PA’s serious incident was when she was pretty much brand new and some waves smashed windows in her forward-facing superstructure in Biscay.  The windows were redesigned and strengthened after that (and a lower row of them might have been removed), so it’s not been a recurring problem.  Not aware of a severe list incident involving her.

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14 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

That was the 2019 engine fire necessitating a new one.

Ed

Indeed.  Was very well handled by the crew and was directly averted from becoming a “serious incident” as a result of their actions.

Curiously (or not), the port of Brest featured as the refuge for PA in both the 2004 and 2019 incidents!

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44 minutes ago, lg12 said:

Didn't PA have a serious incident some years ago?

A 30 degree accidental listing is almost as bad as IF Epsilon's 33 degree listing in 2016.

@lg12  Please refer to my previous post, from reliable sources on board at the time Epsilon got close to a 40 degree list, they almost lost her due to poor seamanship. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I think I’m right in saying the Master at the time was relieved of his duties and was never invited to take them up again. Pont Aven fell victim to a rogue wave, with her relatively short bow she took a direct and powerful hit that proved too strong for her forward windows. Bretagne @ross brown (here’s your moment to shine😂), would of course have sailed serenely on....

Chris

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15 hours ago, Le Quiberon said:

Just thought I’d open a new thread with something new and a discussion on MV Normandie. She has been an ever-reliable amazing servant to BF over the years, loyal to her specific route from Portsmouth to Caen with barely a hint if controversy. Her only dice with danger was her 30 degree accidental listing, which was probably the closest any BF Vessel had come to a genuine disaster. Such a degree of listing is quite significant on a vessel, and eye-witness reports of it seemed quite terrifying.

 

Anyway, out here any nuggets of unknown knowledge you have, rate photos (such as in construction) or memories. In addition to that where do you see her future? I personally could see her on a short to mid length passenger/freight route across the Irish Sea or even in Viking colours on Talkin - Helsinki. What are your thought?

 

L’Q.

Pulling the thread back ‘upright’, where next?

Question is would many suitable buyers and routes be out there?

Ouistreham limits the length of ships, and the deck 5/6 cabins narrow the useable lane metres further.

She lacks enough cabins for “true” long haul (with enough cabins for all car capacity), and she only has a lift between decks which limits her to berths with double decker link spans else very long turnarounds. Perhaps this could be rebuilt and reconfigured, but probably not cheaply. Alternative tonnage of a similar age might include the Pride of Kent/Canterbury sisters on short sea, and Isle of Inishmore for mid-sea. 

I suspect her displacement to Portsmouth - Le Havre on a daily round trip may well see her out if and when a new ferry joins Caen. Another namesake route seems fitting!

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As to where she goes next, too early to tell, but in general it is difficult to see her being used to best effect outside the sort of niche crossing for which she was designed.  Namely, a twin-level loading shuttle service of medium length that operates as both day and overnight sailings.  Anything shorter and her accommodation would be wasted; anything longer and her entertainment facilities would probably be found to be lacking.

Within those parameters, what are the options?  Most likely would probably be that BF still has a plan filed away for future use to move her to Le Havre.  Can’t see her of any use in the Dover Straits, and the North Sea ferry routes are pretty much all freight-only these days.  In the Baltic, I’m not sure how widely used twin level loading is (?).  Which leaves the Irish Sea.  Holyhead-Dublin probably a bit too short for her to be used to best effect, and in any case is already served by far superior vessels.  The North Channel routes ditto.  Are there twin loading facilities at Pembroke or Liverpool?  Not sure.

I’d say she doesn’t have a whole load of options, and barring the Le Havre plan coming to fruition in the not-too-distant future, a one-way trip to the beach would be likely.

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I believe there is double deck loading at Pembroke and as far as I am aware double deck loading is available at Birkenhead, though not at Liverpool. 

That said I am not sure that expansion of the South Wales to Roslare routes would be fulfilling any demand in the foreseeable future, but could there be an option to revive a quality service between Merseyside and Dublin?

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8 minutes ago, Gareth said:

I’d say she doesn’t have a whole load of options, and barring the Le Havre plan coming to fruition in the not-too-distant future, a one-way trip to the beach would be likely.

I think the demise of Honfleur has given Normandie a new lease of life on the Caen route. After that anything could happen but at her age I can`t see anyone buying. As you say a one way to the beach...sadly

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Sadly, I think you are both right, likely a few more years at Cean, probably followed by a major review of the business model and a trip to the beach for Normandy.  I fear that fate could be even closer for Bretange...in the present circumstances is there a place for such a heavily passenger orientated route as Portsmouth-St Malo?

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14 hours ago, Fine Whine said:

from reliable sources on board at the time Epsilon got close to a 40 degree list

For what it's worth, the MCIB report said, "the vessel heeled from port to approximately 33° to starboard through amplitude of approximately 45° in 12
seconds."  source: mcib.ie

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If BF do sell her I'm sure she'd find a place for herself on the Med. Acconia ex FerriMaroc seems appropriate having had I.F's Normandy, P &O's Pride of Free Enterprise and of course the recently departed Duc de Normandie.

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18 minutes ago, jonno said:

If BF do sell her I'm sure she'd find a place for herself on the Med. Acconia ex FerriMaroc seems appropriate having had I.F's Normandy, P &O's Pride of Free Enterprise and of course the recently departed Duc de Normandie.

How much modification did PoFE have for her Ostend and Med roles Jonno?  I bet they can’t have used her as-was from Dover.  I wonder how much appetite there is for extensive modifications of ships in the current climate - and to what extent Normandie would need any for a Med role?

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I think she would be great operating for Viking on Helsinki -Tallin as a running mate to XPRS. She has the cruise ferry facilities and could be modified if necessary. She also has necessary passenger accommodation as sometime they allow guests to ‘overnight’ in port. They still have Rosella operating for them so moving their could add another 20 years life into her. I also think she would look superb in their livery.

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41 minutes ago, Gareth said:

How much modification did PoFE have for her Ostend and Med roles Jonno?  I bet they can’t have used her as-was from Dover.  I wonder how much appetite there is for extensive modifications of ships in the current climate - and to what extent Normandie would need any for a Med role?

Ah now there's a question! I have no idea. Just read on Wiki that initially she ran freight only too - never knew that either.

I focused on that particular area due to DdN recently being sent to the beach and noticed that she was only 2 years older than Stena Europe, GNV's Azzurra and a year older than Vikings Rossella

Take a look at Juan J Sister she crosses the Med from either Motril or Almeria.  Armas seem to be attracted to mid sized RoPax.

https://www.navieraarmas.com/en/fleet/ferry-juan-j-sister

I have a suspicion that the tech side of things are secondary to the notion of purchasing cared for quality tonnage.

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4 minutes ago, jonno said:

Just read on Wiki that initially she ran freight only too - never knew that either.

Do you mean in the Med or at Ostend?

It’s interesting (and mainly forgotten, I think) that, for most of its life, TEF only ever carried freight.  Despite running a fleet of passenger ships (Primrose, Eurovoyager, Larkspur, Laburnum - only Gardenia and Begonia were freighters), they did not venture into carrying passengers until some time after Oleander arrived.  And even then the very limited passenger operation only used Oleander and Larkspur.  Their later experiments with the giants (for Ramsgate) in the form of Norman Spirit and then Ostend Spirit were hopelessly optimistic and probably led to the demise of the company.  They should probably have stuck with freight-only all along.

Anyway - apologies, I digress.

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55 minutes ago, Le Quiberon said:

I think she would be great operating for Viking on Helsinki -Tallin as a running mate to XPRS. She has the cruise ferry facilities and could be modified if necessary. She also has necessary passenger accommodation as sometime they allow guests to ‘overnight’ in port. They still have Rosella operating for them so moving their could add another 20 years life into her. I also think she would look superb in their livery.

I see where you're coming from but she's too old for them. They're looking at modern renewal. Rosella is for sale, Amorella will be sold when Glory arrives and if you put the decimal point in the right place, Mariella is up for grabs too.

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